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Badger Almost Enjoys Autumn

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John Keats’s season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is one of Badger’s favourite times of year. Tourists slowly trickle away and Pembrokeshire’s beaches are swept clear of crowds, noise and clutter. The last splash has ebbed from Abereiddy and the number of Lycra-clad athletes thundering by on their bicycles has diminished. The party conference season has begun: a sure sign that it is time to consider snoozing.

Safe in his sett, Badger can watch the early gales whip trees’ branches into a frenzy as the rain sets in for the next few months.

Nothing, he thought, could disturb Badger’s peace of mind.

And then Badger heard a far-away rumbling.

In London, one of our local MP’s appeared to suggest that the planning functions of our National Parks were having a negative impact on the economy. Simon Hart, MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, chose a Westminster Hall debate to announce he did not agree with the National Parks’ policy to provide affordable housing and suggested that the planning functions of the National Parks should be merged with those of local authorities.

Badger is staggered on two fronts: firstly that Simon Hart is advancing an argument favoured by Jamie ‘the Count’ Adams (a sure sign that an opinion is wrong is to agree with the IPPG’s ‘popular’ leader) and secondly that he seems to think that it is the local authorities that should be taking over the National Parks’ planning functions and not the other way round.

To be sure, there are issues with the National Parks’ planning policies: a number of petty and trivial policies could do with tweaking.

But the idea that Pembrokeshire County Council should take over the whole shebang is as alarming as it is laughable.

The County Council’s planners and Cabinet cannot walk past an empty building without espying an opportunity for a friendly property developer to pop up a few bedsits. Imagine the inventive ways they would find to destroy our countryside and coastline in the way they have neutered and destroyed our town centres.

You only have to look at the way the Council has handled the purported ‘regeneration’ of Pembroke Dock; or consider the way it dealt with the South Quay development at Pembroke; or think of its cavalier approach to heritage properties in its care to realise that putting the whole of Pembrokeshire’s planning at the mercy of the IPPG-led County Council would be crackers.

As for the idea that the Council can inspire the type of enterprise that pays a full-time, year-round living wage needed in Pembrokeshire is equally laughable. Our Council would rather spend its money on ‘big ticket’ projects. Wasting European funding on luxury hotels, supermarkets and marinas and its own money on the ill-fated investment in Bluestone while cutting its own core services and gutting town centres does not suggest the type of approach Pembrokeshire needs to end the relative poverty of its workforce.

Does Simon Hart think that the biggest bunch of ding dongs outside a cathedral belfry should be allowed to get their grubby mitts and those of their property speculating pals on Pembrokeshire’s greatest asset: its beautiful countryside and coast?

If he does think that, he is plainly spending far too much time in London and not paying attention to what is going on in his own constituency.

Badger has nothing personal against Mr Hart. Badger is quite happy for our ruddy-faced MP to chase as many foxes as he wants. After all, the fewer foxes there are the more there is for Badger to tuck into. On this, however, Mr Hart is dead wrong.

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Launch of Haverfordwest Castle Conservation Management Plan

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MEMBERS of the public are being asked to help shape the future of Haverfordwest Castle as a draft Conservation Management Plan (CMP) is launched.

One of Pembrokeshire’s most important historical assets, the Castle is owned by Pembrokeshire County Council, which has produced the CMP.

The plan:

▪ sets out the significance of the castle and describes how the building will be protected with any new use, alteration, repair or management; 

▪ will help with the planning of maintenance, conservation and repair work and adaptation of the site to meet new or changing uses; 

▪ will help promote understanding of the site and look at improving public access and activities for local people and visitors; 

▪ will support proposals to conserve the castle and adaptations of the site in response to climate change; 

▪ and underpin funding applications to support improvements

An engagement exercise has been launched alongside the Plan, giving members of the public with an interest in the historic and/or environmental significance of the castle an opportunity to comment on the document and share their views.

To take part in the engagement exercise, please click on the following link: 

https://haveyoursay.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/regeneration-communities

The deadline for responses is Sunday, March 28, 2021.

 

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Natural Resources Wales approves Ireland-UK interconnector licence

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GREENLINK INTERCONNECTOR LIMITED says it welcomes the decision by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to approve its application for a Marine Licence for the Greenlink electricity interconnector project, which will link the power markets of Great Britain and Ireland.

An important project for Pembrokeshire, and the UK as a whole, NRW’s go-ahead is one of several consents required for the construction of the project and covers installation of the marine cable in UK waters.

The approval is a major milestone for Greenlink and joins the onshore planning consents granted unanimously in July last year by Pembrokeshire County Council and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

Greenlink’s proposed 190km subsea and underground electricity cable will run beneath the Irish Sea to connect National Grid’s Pembroke Power Station in Wales and EirGrid’s Great Island substation in County Wexford, Ireland. It will have a nominal capacity of 500 MW.

The Wales-Ireland link is just one of four interconnectors being installed

Nigel Beresford, CEO for Greenlink Interconnector Limited, said: “We are delighted by Natural Resources Wales’s decision to grant this licence. This marks a significant milestone for Greenlink and another important step towards project construction, which we expect to commence later this year.

“The Greenlink team has worked constructively with Natural Resources Wales and Welsh marine stakeholders to find workable solutions to the many technical and environmental challenges facing a large infrastructure project like this, and this has been reflected in the quality of the final proposal.

“The thorough environmental and technical assessments we have undertaken, supported by the practical and value-adding feedback we have received from key marine stakeholders, have ensured that we move forward confident that we are delivering a well-designed project with the interests of the Welsh marine habitat at its core.”

The subsea section of the cable will be approximately 160km in length and uses high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology. The preferred route and installation methods were chosen following the conclusion of subsea surveys and consultation with key stakeholders.

In Ireland, a Foreshore Licence application was submitted to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Foreshore Unit) in 2019 and the onshore planning application was submitted to An Bord Pleanála in December 2020.

Greenlink is one of Europe’s most important energy infrastructure projects and brings benefits on both sides of the Irish Sea for energy security, regional investment, jobs and the cost-effective integration of low carbon energy. The project will offer important local supply chain opportunities and plans are being drawn up for ‘meet-the-buyer’ events in the local area prior to construction.

Once fully consented, Greenlink is expected to have a three-year construction programme, with commissioning planned by the end of 2023.

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Appeal from Fire and Rescue Service to install working smoke alarms

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AT 01:17am this morning, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, crews from Milford Haven were called to a property fire in the Hakin area of Milford Haven.

The fire was confined to a pan on a stove in the kitchen area and extinguished by firefighters using two breathing apparatus, a hose reel jet and a thermal imaging camera.

Crews also ventilated the property and fitted smoke alarms within the property.

The Fire Service left the incident at 02:00am.

Watch Manager Alun Griffiths, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said “This fire was the result of cooking left unattended. It is so important to remove all pots and pans from a heat source when you are called away from the cooker.

“Thankfully, the occupiers of the property managed to exit the property before our firefighters arrived, but it could have ended very differently as there were no smoke alarms fitted in the property.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of installing working smoke alarms in your homes and testing them regularly. In the dreadful event of a fire, they can alert you to the danger sooner and could mean the difference between life and death.

“As a Fire and Rescue Service, we provide Home Fire Safety advice which is free of charge. We also offer Safe and Well Visits which you can arrange by phoning us on 0800 169 1234 or by visiting the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website.”

For further Home Fire Safety advice or to talk about the possibility of a Safe and Well Visit by Fire and Rescue Service personnel, please phone us on 0800 169 1234.​​​ Alternatively please complete an online Request a Safe and Well Visit​ form on the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website: https://www.mawwfire.gov.uk/eng/your-safety/in-your-home/

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